Five things every hospitality salesperson should master
By Larry Mogelonsky , Principal, Hotel Mogel Consulting Ltd. & Chairman, LMA Communications Inc.
spans 35+ years, David has had the pleasure of assessing, training and/or mentoring hospitality sales associates from major hotel chains and independents throughout the U.S. and abroad.
hotel selling skills.
Know your product and the competition, and learn as much about the prospect as possible. Don't go tobat without a plan (e.g.: What is your goal? Secure an appointment, entertainment, site inspection, perhaps a tentative or definite booking?).
David used a baseball metaphor to think about how you plan your sales call. A lot of fans think you juststep up to the plate ready to bat. But good hitters have an exact plan coming to bat, such as bunting, moving a runner to second base or hitting a sacrifice fly. And don't underestimate the requirements of preparation and research. You have to learn as much as you can in order to achieve a most productive call.
Your appearance, voice and positive attitude are critical. Check all anxiety, self-imposed or boss-related pressures, frustrations and fatigue to the side before you enter the prospect's office. A prospect will know if you are having a good day, and that feeling is contagious. So too are those less-than- positive feelings. Some days are better spent doing paperwork!
Handling rejection is often difficult for those selling who come from a generation where everyone onthe team earned a trophy for something. Again, using baseball as a metaphor, remember that Babe Ruth only batted .342 (lifetime); he struck out (1330 times) a lot more often than he hit home runs (714 times), but we only remember the latter.
This does not come naturally and you must work at it. You need to listen with what David calls 'threeears': listen to what the prospect is saying, what the prospect is not saying, and what the prospect wants to say but needs you to help draw out. Effective listening is a very powerful tool in professional selling. Stop talking and listen. Then follow up with focused, open-ended questions.
Think about the 30-second rule. Whenever selling features and benefits, pause every 30 seconds togauge reaction then ask, "Does what I am describing make sense?" or "So, what do you think?" Never continue with any sales pitch unless you receive confirmation from the prospect that he or she is following and, hopefully, in agreement.
It is amazing to see how many salespeople go on autopilot, running from their cheat sheets with aceaseless spewing of facts and features. Your objective is to ensure the prospect remains engaged.
Ask for the business
If the prospect has stayed with you, responded positively to key points and has no further questions orconcerns, then that is the moment you move to close. Remember, the answer is always "no" unless you ask. Think of a "no" as only an interim response.
Many hotel salespersons today will do anything to avoid asking for the business because in part they donot want to face rejection. You cannot let this slide. If the prospect is engaged and they have responded positively to additional suggestions, then confirm the deal. That's what it's all about!
David M. Brudney, ISHC, is a veteranhospitality sales and marketing professional concluding his fourth decade of service to the hospitality industry. Brudney advises lodging owners, lenders, asset managers and operators on hotel sales and marketing "best practices" and conducts reviews of hospitality (as well as other industry) sales and marketing operations throughout the U.S. and overseas. The principal of David Brudney & Associates of Carlsbad, CA, a sales and marketing consulting firm specializing in the hospitality industry since 1979, Brudney is a frequent lecturer, instructor and speaker. He is a charter member of International Society of Hospitality Consultants. Previously, Brudney held hospitality sales and marketing positions with Hyatt, Westin and Marriott. Click here for articles written by David.